California drought prompts increase in natural gas

The state of emergency in California over its record-breaking drought has led to a decrease in the use of hydropower, shifting generation toward natural gas.

Before the drought, hydropower made up roughly 20 percent of California's energy generation, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Monday.


Now, in the first half of 2014, hydropower has dropped to 10 percent of the state's generation.

Natural gas capacity has helped offset the drop in hydropower, increasing 3 percent over last year's levels and 16 percent over the last 10 years, the EIA said.

Wind and solar are also playing a part in making up for the decline of hydropower. In February and March of this year, wind power surpassed hydro generation for the first time in California.